Medical Marketing Agency

Splice Videos

Responding to Patients on
Social Media
Interview with lawyer, Jeanette, Onyx Legal

Interview Transcript

Ellie Bakker, Marketing Director, Splice Marketing
Social media is about two way communication. So if a patient comments on a Facebook post or they send you a message on Messenger, can you actually respond as a healthcare professional or do you just stay silent and leave that comment to be?

Jeanette Jifkins, Principal Lawyer, Onyx Legal
It really depends on the comment. Where somebody is blatantly wrong... So I get this from a legal perspective. Helpful people on social media trying to advise other people with no experience. And where they're blatantly wrong, it's okay to say, "That's not evidence based and you should seek further advice from a professional." But a health professional should never give specific advice in response to a comment on social media. So general responses that it doesn't mean evidence-base or that's not your experience or recommending that they go and see someone, those sorts of comments are fine, but don't ever be seen to be providing a health service through social media because it's public and you'll be in breach of your privacy obligations.

I always suggest to people when something gets you fired up and you really want to respond and be involved, write the response, but not where it can be posted. And then think about it and then you have the opportunity to edit it before you put yourself at risk. So yes, it's okay to engage on social media. You just need to be aware of how you're engaging and whether you're overstepping the line in terms of providing a health service or being potentially controversial. Don't ever comment about other practitioners. There's some common sense things you should put in place.

Ellie Bakker, Marketing Director, Splice Marketing
And then I guess general customer service is okay. So, if people are asking about opening hours or events or whatever, that's all okay to respond because-

Jeanette Jifkins, Principal Lawyer, Onyx Legal
That's fine.

Ellie Bakker, Marketing Director, Splice Marketing
Some people are still worried about that.

Jeanette Jifkins, Principal Lawyer, Onyx Legal
Yeah. Comments, anything where you're just letting people know the general information about the service they can access, even costings, if people ask that, I would personally do it on private message. But those sorts of general comments you can engage on social media. It's more the falling over into health services and overstepping the mark.

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